Saturday 20th August

Standard

Had a nice breakfast with David, Joan and Allan then we drove to Broc and went to the Ciller/Nestle Head factory.  We drove along the lake for part of the trip – it was so beautiful passing fields full just of massive sunflowers, apple trees, corn fields and of course so many vineyards.  Had a stop to admire the view – we were extremely high up!!

The factory was amazing – we were waiting for one of David’s friends and son to arrive so we had a hot chocolate in their café while we waited and looked at all the chocolate in their gift shop – the hot chocolate was beautiful – so rich, creamy and delicious.

The tour we went on was like no other I have ever been on before – As a group we went into this small room where a voice over explained how it would work – when a door opened we should go through it.  Then suddenly the floor moved like an elevator!  It was dark so we didn’t know where we were being taken – came out in a room which explained the origins of the kacao bean and how it was first made into chocolate.  The next room explained how the recipe was gradually refined.  The next room explained how the company Cailler was created and the other competing companies. They eventually all joined together as they went through financial difficulties and the last merge was with Nestle.  Then we went into the factory room which had huge white hessian bags filled with the raw kacao beans which we could taste.  They were really bitter, pretty similar to the 85% lindt dark chocolate which makes sense. There were beans from Ecuador and Venezuela and a few other places and you could taste a difference between them. The next room we walked alongside a conveyor belt which showed the process of making a certain chocolate piece – all the way to its wrapping and storing.  Then we were allowed into the tasting room where we could try the different chocolates, although you really couldn’t taste very many before your   tastebuds got overwhelmed by the richness and had to stop.  It was a very fun experience to be able to see the whole picture – and taste real swiss chocolate.  As we were leaving there was a group of yodelling men who sung some traditional songs. They sounded so good – they reached some very high notes!!!

We then drove to Gruyere which is a medieval village which was made up of shops and restaurants – they were all stone-cobble and flowers everywhere.  We walked around – it was pretty busy with tourists, we had a cheese fondue for lunch – I had never tried it before but it was really yummy.  We also stopped in at a cheese factory where we were able to see the room where they store and mature the big wheels of cheese – I couldn’t believe how many there were in there – they were about 30kg each!!  This cool machine was going along the rows and picking the cheese up, flipping it and wiping it before putting it back on the shelf.

The way home we drove down and around the lake through some mountains – near to where I would be staying at L’Abri.  We stopped to look at the scenery – it was such a long way down.

I was then spoilt … David took me for a ride in his Porche.  It felt like I was in a car commercial… speeding along the Swiss countryside in a porche – going up and down this mountain with all these hairpin bends – and getting up to 175kms on the straight!!

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